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Home » Your Eye Health » Eye Diseases » Diabetes and Eyesight » Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes prohibits the body from properly using and storing sugar, leaving excessive amounts of sugar in the bloodstream which can cause damage to blood vessels and various parts of the body- including the eyes and visual system. Diabetic retinopathy is when this condition results in progressive damage to the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that is essential for vision, so if left untreated, diabetic retinopathy will eventually cause blindness. Sadly, despite the fact that proper monitoring and treatment can successfully halt the progression of the diabetic eye disease, it is still the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults in North America.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy progressively damages the blood vessels of the retina to the point that they begin to leak blood and fluids. This leakage causes swelling in the retinal tissue which can impact your ability to focus causing vision loss and if left untreated, eventually will cause blindness. Retinopathy typically affects both eyes and often will have no symptoms in the early stages – making regular eye exams essential for anyone with diabetes. The longer an individual has had diabetes, the more likely it is that they will have some degree of retinopathy.

Symptoms include:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Seeing floaters or spots
  • Difficulty reading or seeing close objects
  • Double Vision
  • Poor Night Vision

Untreated diabetic retinopathy can also lead to a detached retina. This can happen if the disease has progressed to proliferative retinopathy in which new, fragile blood vessels grow in the retina and the vitreous at the back of the eye. The blood vessels can break, leaking fluid and causing the growth of scar tissue which can cause the retina to detach. If left untreated this can cause blindness as well.

Many of the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, particular in the early stages of vision loss, can be reversed with proper treatment and control of blood sugar levels. Diabetics with or without retinopathy must see an eye doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive eye exam to monitor any changes and ensure that proper treatment is prescribed.

COVID-19 Update:  Following the directive from the Government of Ontario, Dr. Pachler’s Office will be closed until Monday, April 6th or until further notice as a precaution to help protect our patients, staff members and the community against the spread of COVID-19.  Should you experience an ocular emergency at this time, please request an e-assessment at www.PrismEyeInstitute.com for access or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency care centre.  Appointments that were scheduled between March 20th and April 6th inclusive have been canceled.  Please contact us to reschedule your appointment once the office re-opens.  In the event that the office is closed beyond April 6th, we will send another notice.  We thank you in advance for your understanding in this matter.  Stay Safe and Healthy!

To Contact Us:  Please do so through our web portal (https://www.oakparkoptometrist.com/contact-us/contact-form/), which will be checked daily.

Contact Lens Re-Orders:  Please leave a message through our web portal. All re-orders will be direct shipped to your residence.

Thank and Stay Safe!

Dr. Pachler